What's coming to technology next year? Despite what consultants tell, predicting the future is all about educated guessing as opposed to science. Still, guessing can be fun. So let's see...
Just before the end of this year, Tim Cook decided to speak — a lot. As the new CEO, it was probably a very tough year for him. In an interview with Business Week, he said that “Apple has changed every day since I have been here” and that the recent changes in staff were made with an eye for Apple's future. Later, while speaking with NBC, Cook dropped the bomb we can all anticipate for the coming year: Apple TV. He didn't elaborate so much as clearly intimate. "When I go into my living room and turn on the TV," he said, "I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years." He continued to say that television is "an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that." Apple will debut their first generation television. Expect something spectacular.
Google is almost everywhere: from maps to books and from Android to gmail. The company is looking forward in 2013. Some of their brightest future projects include Project Glass and the Driverless Car. Another thing we might expect in the coming year is a possible Google Wireless Network. There's a lot of reported grumbling that indicates Google is not happy with U.S. carriers, which they feel are not as receptive to their devices as they should be. We should also expect Chromebooks, Android 5 and a new line of Nexus devices.
Microsoft had an interesting year. They launched Windows 8 and then we discovered it was a “Vista” release. So if all goes according to plan, 2013 should bring us a new Windows OS. Already being referred to as Windows Blue, it will actually kill the old Windows 7 XP look and interface. If Microsoft does bring the new OS to the market, it could be one of the bravest and riskiest decisions they've made. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft will also release their first Windows 8 Surface Pro tablet which will feature an Intel Core i5 Processor and 128 GB of storage. There's also a rumor floating around that the company will launch a Surface phone but after the failure of the Kin project, I'm not ready to commit to it happening.
Sony has a lot to do in the coming year. They lost the smartphone battle in 2012, and their tablets didn't even begin to meet expectations. The only rumor I keep hearing is that in 2013 Sony will release a flagship Xperia smartphone. There may be a nibble for gaming enthusiasts as well. They will most likely hear news about the next generation of Playstation console.
I think we'll soon see why Amazon Wireless was created in 2009. Their next logical step is a smartphone and the Internet has been buzzing about that possibility. We can also expect enhanced content and a new line of Kindle e-book readers and HD tablets.
Samsung had a great year in 2012. How will they top it? For starters, we can look forward to a new line of smart devices like Smart TVs, Galaxy S IV, Galaxy Note III, Galaxy Tab 3 and others.
Nokia will continue the search for their own identity in 2013, just as they tried to do in 2012. It is rumored that they'll relaunch the Lumia tablet, which I think would be a good bet. We can count on them to release a new line of Lumia smartphones too, and HereMaps will continue to expand on other platforms.
Hewlett-Packard had an awful year with an almost $7 billion loss in the fourth quarter. Meg Whitman has her work cut out for her. The company has to come up with something spectacular if they want to be competitive. It's widely reported that HP has no plans to release a smartphone this year. My feeling is that they'll focus on launching new line of Windows 8 notebooks and maybe even a tablet.
Research in Motion (RIM) had a tough year. Success in 2013 is critical. It's imperative that RIM innovate enough to compete with Android, iOS and even the Windows operating system. On January 30, 2013, they'll officially release BlackBerry 10 OS and a new touch screen smartphone. If everything goes well, I think they'll announce a successor for their PlayBook tablet too.
The scuttlebutt is that Facebook is developing their own search engine that can be accessed via their site. Zuckerberg also has been quoted as saying the next big thing is mobile. I think his boast may be questionable, at least for 2013. The mobile market is expanding with incredible speed and not all users own a Facebook account. A Facebook phone has also been rumored to be in the works, but again, I don't see it in the new year.